Thursday 31 July 2008

Taking the platform II

Passengers outside the waiting room - York Station, 1998

I found another image taken during the station project in 1998. It didn't go down well as a university project but then most of my projects didn't fare well at that time. I do think, however, that these images offer an insight into travelling on Britain's rather eccentric rail system. These photographs may be ten years old but the experience sadly remains the same.

The photographs were taken using a Bronica ETRS which, when used with a waist level finder, doesn't attract the attention of people like a 35mm camera would have done. Film stock was Kodak TMAX 400, probably rated at ISO 800 due to the low level of lighting.

I rather like the images from this little project so i'll be adding them to the gallery section of the website.

Wednesday 30 July 2008

Taking the platform

Traveller looking at train timetable, York Station, 1998

Just recently, i've started using the trains again after a gap of a few years. Last week i did two journeys by rail and it was while in the station at York that i saw several people taking photographs. Yes, a few of these people were of that infamous spotting variety... the trainspotter... but quite a few were tourists fascinated by the size and architecture of York railway station.

What i found even more interesting was the total freedom that they had to take images inside the station. We hear so much about uptight security services stopping images being taken in public buildings but no one made a move to stop these people for taking their snaps. The visit to the station platform reminded me of a project i did ten years ago.

I photographed inside Manchester Piccadilly and York railway stations for a project about how we use public places. People are that busy concentrating on their traveling that they don't notice you taking photographs. This young man above was a classic example of that; he was far too busy checking what time his train went, to see me take his photograph.

Sunday 27 July 2008

Coloured glass

Medieval stain glass window at Holy Trinity Church, York, UK

Holy Trinity church is a little gem of a church located in the centre of York....and I only discovered it yesterday thanks to Sophie, a close friend, who was visiting York. I've walked by this church for over twenty years and never noticed it.

The church is a mixture of medieval,16th and 17th century architecture located just meters away from a busy street in the centre of York. As we entered the man sat at the door said " take as many photographs as you like".

Wow... how refreshing ! Most places these days have a NO PHOTOGRAPHY policy which is a shame considering the wonderfully colourful images that can be taken in these beautiful places.

Wednesday 23 July 2008

Tranquil coast

A tranquil sunset at Burnham Overy Staithe, Norfolk

The water was just so still that evening at Burnham Overy Staithe on the North Norfolk coast. Reflections were everywhere, the only things making ripples on the water were the various sea birds hunting for food. I did have to wait until the sun was lower in the sky for a delicate type of light but it was certainly worth the wait. As i waited i just watched the world go by and soaked in the magic of the scene before me.

Sunday 20 July 2008

Throwing stones

Throwing stones on the beach near Salthouse, Norfolk

We've all done this at some point.... thrown stones into the sea. It's quite therapeutic in a way. Sometimes we just like them to make a big splash and other times we want them to skim across the water as many times as possible. The one thing i DID notice was how much fun the Dads and Granddads seem to have skimming stones along with the kids!

Friday 18 July 2008

Pier pressure

Waves crashing against sea walls at Cromer, Norfolk, UK

My recent photographic shooting trip to Norfolk was full of surprises. I used to shoot quite a few rolls of 120 film but this year i found that i really did use a LOT of film in my Bronica SQAi. The increase has come about through two pieces of equipment; a prism viewfinder and a speedgrip that made the camera handle more like a 35mm camera.

I haven't processed any of the film yet so i can't say whether the better handling has resulted in better images, but i certainly believe that some great images were taken... fingers crossed :-) The first batch of films will be developed this weekend and the new images put on the blog next week... hopefully.

The image above was taken during a visit to Cromer on the North Norfolk coast. The waves that day were pretty big, moving vast quantities of pebbles under the water that created a loud crunching sound as they rolled in. This sound really helped me gauge the size of a wave, giving me an advance warning of a real big one coming in. This is, of course, just a small wave compared to some of the rough winter 'rollers' that will come in after a storm. The force of the water must be terrifying at times !

Thursday 17 July 2008

Great escape

Big and little Darth Vader - Image by Steve Schofield

I just love this series of portraits by Steve Schofield. The images certainly seem to ask a question or two about modern living and how we try to escape from its monotony. Steve's statement about the work says:-

"My practice is concerned with exploring the fascination that the British public has with American popular culture and the sub-cultural world of fandom. In the images, I have shown people in their own homes and environments wearing costumes that they would be dressed in to attend events with other like-minded individuals. It seeks to offer a glimpse into seemingly ordinary lives of my subjects and allows the private to become public. The work hints at the depth of people's fantasies and the methods they employ to adopt this culture as part of their own lifestyle as a means of escapism".

Chewbacca's kitchen - Image by Steve Schofield

I especially love the Wookie shot. Its just such a bizarre portrait that really works because it looks so out of place. Chewbacca from Star Wars in a kitchen just looks odd !!!! What certainly comes across in these photographs is how seriously these people take their passion. The quality of the costumes are just fantastic.

Not all of the images relate to Star Wars, with other fans dressing up as their favourite character from Star Trek. Another popular theme seems to be the Wild west with various cowboys and Indians making an appearance.

The gallery of images is well worth a look and can be found at:-

Found via Shoot the blog

Sunday 13 July 2008

Car boot camera

A rather worn...but loved.. Agfa Synchro Box camera

What happens when an old camera can no longer take photographs? The answer is... it becomes an ornament reflecting an era when photography was far simpler. In this case the camera is a Agfa Synchro Box, Afga's answer to Kodak's highly popular Box Brownie, picked up at a car boot sale for £2.00.

The Agfa's a bit rusted up here and there and quite honestly it has seen better days. I don't think that it will see a roll of film through it again but i do wonder... how many photographs this wonderful little camera took during its working life? Where were the images taken....and of whom?

Thursday 10 July 2008

Five dogs

Boat traveling into Wroxham on the Norfolk Broads

Being aware of what's going on around you is key to getting great images. This image was taken on a walk along the side of the broad going out of Wroxham. As I walked through a wooded area, I saw this boat heading along the broad and instantly noted the number of dogs on board. Initially I thought there were four but if you look closely you will notice that the boat's doggy crew numbers five. The man at the helm looks an interesting character too.

It's not a perfect image, slightly unsharp due to the slowish shutter speed combined with the movement of the boat... and the light quality that day was terrible. Considering, though, that it was a 'grabbed' shot (so you either get it or not) I think I did manage to get a decent image.

Seeing the boat approaching through some nearby trees, I actually had to dash back to where the path went along by the water to get this photograph. I fired the camera off without checking any settings as he was due to disappear under a railway bridge within seconds.

Monday 7 July 2008

Journey's end

Sunset over Burnham Overy Staithe, Norfolk

You may have already guessed but the blog has been running on auto-pilot over the last couple of weeks while i have been down in Norfolk photographing away. No doubt over the next few weeks you will see what i have taken, and i certainly have some tales to tell about the places I've been and the people I've met.

As well as the Norfolk posts, the next few weeks will see the postings of a few articles that have been delayed due to time constraints. The Tamrac Pro 12 review and another smaller review will be posted this month. Sorry about the delay but i can add that the extra testing of the Pro 12 in Norfolk has revealed a few more great features of the bag.

Saturday 5 July 2008

Black Dog

Watching the world ...and his dog

Weybourne in Norfolk, where this image was taken, is a lovely part of the Norfolk coast but it has a darker side to it, as its the place where the coastal erosion starts to bite into the coast. The soft sandy cliffs are being washed away gradually, threatening nearby homes.

This man had been sat there for some time, just taking in the view and watching passing ships through his binoculars. He never noticed me taking his photo.... but as you can see from this image ... his dog did !

Thursday 3 July 2008

Scraping the bottom

Two men maintaining the hull of their boat

We never see the seaside as a work environment. Oh no...we are too wrapped up in our fish n'chips or ice cream to think about the people who make a living from the sea. But think about what the seaside experience would be like without the boats, nets and crab pots. These seaside resorts and other places would just be empty.

This photograph was taken from the car window. I just loved the way that these two were going about cleaning up the boat that kept the bills payed and food on the table. Just an ordinary job that needed to be done but in this image it clearly shows that theses work places are part of the beautiful coastal locations that make up the British coastline.